There are many different questions that both landlords and tenants have about the rules, codes and laws related to residential and commercial rental properties. Each state has its own laws and regulations related to rental property, tenants rights and landlord rights. Select your state from the drop-down menu below to see more specific information about the laws and regulations for rental property in your state.
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There are many different factors that tenants use to determine what rental property they are going select.
The most important factor for most people looking to rent or lease a residential or commercial property is the amount of the monthly rental payment. This payment needs to meet the tenant's budget and the property needs to meet the tenant's requirements. In a recent research study, the budget seems to be the primary factor in deciding which rental property the tenant will choose.
Landlords usually charge per square foot for rental property. Each neighborhood or zone has its own median cost per square foot for residential and commercial property. For example, if the current rate for a particular neighborhood or zone was $0.76 per square foot and the dwelling was 2000 square feet, your estimated rental payment would be around $1,520 per month.
Tenants usually have to pay a security deposit and the first month's payment to lease or rent a home or property. In some cases the landlord may delay or defer the security deposit payment or break it down into several payments for you to make moving in more affordable for you.
There are several other things that you as a tenant should take into consideration before choosing a home or property.
You should check the crime rate in the neighborhood. The school district rankings with your state. What it would cost to get the utilities turned on and so on. In deed restricted neighborhoods the deposits to turn on the water and sewer range from $200 to $500. Some landlords include these utilities in with your lease agreement and rental payment. In these cases a deposit is not usually required to have the utilities turned on.
Tenants should inspect the property thoroughly with the landlord pointing out any defects or repairs that need to be made before signing a lease agreement. You should also make sure that the person renting you the property is the owner or authorized agent for the property or you could fall victim to a scam. You can look up who a property owner is for any address by clicking here.
Tenant Questions and Answers:
Q: Does my landlord have to renew my lease agreement after it expires?
A: No. Your landlord is not obligated to renew your lease agreement after it expires. The landlord always has the option to sell the property or have the tenants move out so that upgrades and repairs can be done to the property. In most states your landlord is required to give you a 30 day notice that your lease is going to expire and will not be renewed.
Q: Can my landlord increase my rent before my lease agreement expires?
A: In most cases yes. The landlord may increase the rent at any time during your lease agreement unless your lease agreement specifically states that the landlord cannot go up on your payment until the lease agreement has been renewed.
Q: Can my landlord turn off my utilities for non-payment of rent?
A: In most cases no. If the utilities are in your name the landlord is not allowed to disconnect the utilities unless he has gone through the eviction process completely. In certain circumstances for example, the landlord may be able to cut the utilities off if they are included in your rental payment and your lease agreement states that non-payment of your rent will leave you subject to disconnection of your utilities or you never had the utilities transferred into your name. Utilities usually include electricity, water and sewer, cable TV and trash pickup, etc.
Q: Am I responsible for maintenance and up-keep of the landscaping for the property I am renting?
A: If you live in an apartment, most likely no. Most apartment complexes contract out landscaping services which would include mowing and edging the grass cleaning the sidewalks and picking up debris around the property. If you live in a residential house in most cases you are responsible for mowing and edging the grass cleaning the sidewalks and picking up debris around the property. Many tenants contract out these services as well. There are many landscaping companies that will mow and edge the grass, clean the sidewalks and pick up debris around the property for a fee.
Q: Can the landlord charge me for fines received from any HOA or POA for the property?
A: Yes. If the landlord has received a fine or a warning about something you are doing that violates HOA or POA regulations then you are responsible for paying any fees that the landlord may have incurred due to your actions. The landlord must show you written proof of these warnings or fines and you should keep a copy of them for your records. If the violations from the HOA or POA are for damage to the property that violates HOA or POA regulations then the tenant is not responsible for those fines and the landlord is responsible for making the necessary repairs. For example if a landlord received a fine for not having a driveway repaired the tenant is not responsible for that fine because the driveway does not belong to the tenant, it belongs to the landlord.
Q: I received a 3 day eviction notice from my landlord. Does this mean I have 3 days to move out?
A: Usually no. The 3 day eviction notice is simply a written notice that you are behind in your payment and that you have three days to pay the balance due in full or move out. If you do not pay or move out by the end of the three days then you will be subject to an eviction lawsuit. The notice will usually include the amount you owe and the date that it is due. After the three days has expired your landlord will go to the Municipal Court and file an eviction lawsuit against you. The court will issue the landlord a hearing date. You will be notified by the court of this hearing date. At that time you will get a chance to explain to the judge any circumstances that may have lead to you falling behind in your payments and having an eviction lawsuit filed against you. The judge will give you a certain number of days to remove your things from the landlord's property and move out. If you have not moved out by the date the judge gives you, then law enforcement will come and physically remove you and all of your belongings from the landlord's property.
Q: Does an eviction go on my credit report?
A: It can. In most cases the Municipal Court will file a judgment against you for the amount that you owe the landlord in any past due rent, fees, repair expenses, cleaning expenses, court costs and any other cost the landlord may have incurred.
Q: Is my landlord responsible for all repairs of the property?
A: The landlord is responsible by law for some repairs. The landlord is responsible for keeping the property maintained and in a livable condition. Each state has different laws as to what the landlord is responsible for. These things would include items such as the air conditioning and heating of the property, the water and sewer of the property. Common appliances such as stoves, toilets, sinks, showers, bathtubs and hot water heaters. The landlord is also responsible for the electrical wiring of the property such as plug outlets, light switches and fixtures, and other internal wiring of the property.
Q: Can I break my lease at any time?
A: In most cases no. Your lease agreement is a contract between you and your landlord stating that you will pay a certain amount each month to live in the property for a certain length of time. In most cases the only way for you to break your lease agreement before it expires is if the landlord has been notified by you that the property is in need of repairs and the landlord has neglected to make those repairs. You should notify your landlord in writing and keep a copy of these documents for yourself. Make a list of any items the landlord is responsible for repairing and notify your landlord these items are in need of repair or replacement. If the landlord does not repair these items, you have written proof that you have requested these items to be repaired and the landlord has neglected to do the repairs. This would be a legal reason for you to break your lease agreement with your landlord in most cases.
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